Speaking of Beaks

Speaking of Beaks

You may have noticed that we offer wing and nail trimming at Port Orchard Parrots Plus, but not beak trimming. Have you wondered why?  The best answer we can give to this is that abnormal beak growth is frequently a sign of a more serious problem.  Beaks are constantly growing – just like nails and wings – and an active, healthy parrot will usually wear their beaks down by chewing, foraging, playing, grinding, and rubbing them against rough surfaces.  If that’s not happening, your first call should be to your avian veterinarian to rule out any health problems that may be contributing factors.

Creating a Beak Friendly Home Environment

In a natural environment birds have many different types of objects that help keep beak growth under control.  As pet guardians it’s up to us to reproduce as much of that as we can.  Perches should have different diameters and textures so that your bird can use them to wear down their beaks.  Make sure that your parrot isn’t using a rough surfaced perch all the time as this can cause sores on their feet as well as too much wear on their beaks.  Cuttlebones, and mineral blocks help smaller birds keep their beaks in good shape, and of course chewing toys of all shapes and sizes are a must.  Just be sure that your parrot is only chewing the toys and not ingesting them unless they’re specifically made to be eaten.

Leave Those Beaks Alone!

Most parrots don’t need to have their beaks trimmed.  As long as the beak isn’t growing abnormally there’s no need for you to do anything with it.  Beaks can become malformed in ways that interfere with a parrot’s ability to eat, or so long that there is a risk that it could puncture the skin.  If this is happening with your parrot, your first stop must be your avian veterinarian rather than a pet groomer.  As conscientious and well meaning as your groomer may be, they simply don’t have the training and experience (not to mention the resources) to correctly diagnose the cause of such unusual growth.

How Beak Trimming is Done (If it Must Be Done)

The grooming procedure itself is not overly complicated but it is never advisable for you to do it yourself.  A groomer or veterinarian will generally use a tool like a file or dremel to gently and gradually wear away the surface growth just as the bird would do naturally – but at a faster rate of course.  Wings, nails, and beaks are fed by blood vessels that – if knicked – can bleed profusely.  It’s essential that the person grooming your parrot knows exactly what to do if bleeding occurs.  A clotting agent must be quickly applied and firm pressure applied to the wound until all bleeding stops.  Ordinary household flour works great as a clotting agent as do the many over-the-counter clotting agents sold by Port Orchard Parrots Plus and other pet supply retailers.

Stress Management

Parrots seem to tolerate wing and nail trimming without too much stress, but that may be due to the fact that they can’t easily see what’s happening.  Beak trimming can be – but need not be a stressful experience for them, so when you’re all done, make sure you return your parrot to a safe, non-stressful environment as soon as possible let them calm down.

Of course their favorite treats should always be on hand to let them know how proud you are of their extraordinary bravery.  You may want to treat yourself too while you’re at it.

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